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SWISS ALPS til they are let out bright and early the


next morning. Von Allmen has been farming in


Gimmelwald since 1980. Aſt er fi nishing school, he studied agriculture in Zol- likofen and Münsingen near Bern for seven years and moved back to the village to start


Gimmelwald is easily accessible


his


own organ- ic farm. To be


from Mürren. It is just one ten-minute cable car stop from the town.


considered an organic farm, the farmer must not use any chemicals or fertilizers when caring for the animals and also must look for what is best for the land. “You don’t look for the maximum for


meat or the maximum for milk,” von Allmen said, “you look fi rst to see that the animal is healthy.” Von Allmen raises Simmertaler cows,


which are raised for their meat, and Grauviech, which are not as common in the area. T e Grauviech breed is smaller and lighter than the Simmertaler and is raised for both milk and meat. Like most farmers in the Alps, von


Allmen has another job in addition to farming. “T e job is diff erent here,” he said.


“It’s not possible to make your life off the meat and the milk.” Von Allmen is also a politician, work-


ing for the parliament in Bern, Switzer- land, and for the school system in Laut- erbrunnen. “I like all of it,” he said. “I like to have


two jobs. I like to farm, but I like poli- tics. I like politics, but I like to farm. I wouldn’t do just one. T e mix is good.” Every day on the farm is diff erent de-


pending on his work schedule, von All- men said, but most days begin at 6:30 a.m. when he lets the cows out and starts the morning feeding. During the winter, the cows will


stay in the barns lower in the moun- tains at about 4,500 feet and are tak- en out to feed on grass at the end of May. At the end of June, the cows are moved up the mountain to about


86| ALPINE LIVING 2011


7,500 feet, then from barn to barn until October or November. T is seasonal movement allows farm-


ers to grow grass for hay in preparation for the next winter season. On his farm, one of just three in Gim-


melwald, von Allmen has two breeds of cows that are raised organically. In a village of this size, von Allmen said it is


impossible to have more cows because of the steep incline of the land, the limited amount of hay he is able to produce and the room available in the barns. In the summer, von Allmen said one


cow can produce 2,200 pounds of milk and 220 pounds of cheese. Von Allmen sells his products, includ- ing cheese, meat and sausage to regular


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